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Using Google Analytics to track shopping cart abandonment

About "Goals" and "Funnels"

Your Google Analytics account gives you a way to track special steps that visitors take on your Web site, and that are particularly meaningful to you. For example, if you have a form where people ask for more information about your products, you can create a “goal” to track the “conversion” rate between visitors and prospects (people who fill out the form). How many visitors become prospects? Where did they come from? That's what Google Analytics can help you determine.

Applied to ProductCart, the use of a goal can assist you in determining when customers abandon the store after adding products to the shopping cart. This information can be helpful in determining where customers are “dropping off”.

More information on Google Analytics "goals" and "funnels"

Tracking shopping cart abandonment

Setting up the Goal

You can use a goal and a funnel in your Google Analytics account to track shopping cart abandonment on your ProductCart-powered store. This will allow you to learn more about where customers drop-off during checkout.

Here we assume that the name of the ProductCart folder is “store”.

  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account at https://www.google.com/analytics/.
  2. Select the account that contains the profile you'll be creating goals in from the Overview page.
  3. Find the profile for which you will be creating goals, and click 'Edit' in the 'Actions' column.
  4. In the 'Goals' section, select one of the four sets of goals (each set contains up to five goals) and click 'Add goal'. You can create up to 20 goals if you use all four sets.
  5. Enter the goal's name so that you can quickly recognize it when viewing reports.
  6. Turn the goal 'On' or 'Off'. If you choose 'On,' that means you want Google Analytics to track this conversion goal at this time. Turning it 'Off' will only make the goal inactive without deleting it.
  7. Select the goal's position. The pull-down menu lets you select a goal's position from within a set so that you can control the order in which it appears from the 'Goals' tab in your reports, or lets you move a goal from one set to another.
  8. Select the type of goal that you wish to setup. This can be URL Destination, Time on Site, or Pages/Visit. We recommend that you start with ”URL Destination”.
  9. Once you select the radio button for 'URL Destination', a field for 'Goal Details' should appear.
  10. Fill in the following values:
    1. Match Type: Head Match
    2. Goal URL: /store/pc/ordercomplete.asp
      Remember that here we are assuming that ProductCart has been installed in the root of your Web site and that the name of the ProductCart folder is store.
    3. Case sensitive: no
    4. Goal value: (optional)
  11. Click ”+Yes, create a funnel for this goal

Setting up the Funnel

The instructions to setup the funnel are a bit different for ProductCart v4 vs. ProductCart v3.

ProductCart v4

For ProductCart v4, enter the following steps.

  1. step 1:
    1. URL: /store/pc/viewcart.asp
    2. Name: Shopping cart (don't set it as a required first step because customers might bypass it by clicking on “Checkout” in the small shopping cart, if you use it)
  2. step 2:
    1. URL: /store/pc/onepagecheckout.asp
    2. Name: Start checkout
  3. step 3:
    1. URL: /store/pc/onepagecheckout.asp#opcLoginAnchor
    2. Name: Login or enter billing information
  4. step 4:
    1. URL: /store/pc/onepagecheckout.asp#opcShippingAnchor
    2. Name: Shipping
  5. step 5:
    1. URL: /store/pc/onepagecheckout.asp#opcPaymentAnchor
    2. Name: Review and Payment
  6. step 6 (if using a payment gateway):
    1. URL: changes depending on which payment gateway you are using on your store. To find out exactly what the URL is, simply start a test order and go all the way to the payment page. Then, copy and paste the URL from the browser address field. For example, if you were using Authorize.Net, the URL would be: /store/pc/gwAuthorizeAIM.asp
    2. Name: Credit card form

Save the new goal. Please note that data will not be available in your Google Analytics reports until the following day.

ProductCart v3

With ProductCart v3, the names of the pages are a bit different. They are:

  1. View Shopping Cart page: /store/pc/viewcart.asp
  2. Start Checkout: /store/pc/checkout.asp
  3. Login or Register: /store/pc/login.asp
  4. Shipping Selection: /store/pc/chooseShpmnt.asp
  5. Order Verification: /store/pc/orderVerify.asp
  6. Payment Page
    This URL changes depending on which payment gateway (or other payment option) you are using on your store. To find out exactly what the URL is, simply start a test order and go all the way to the payment page. Then, copy and paste the URL from the browser address field. For example, if you were using Authorize.NET, the URL would be: /store/pc/gwAuthorizeAIM.asp

Save the goal. Data in your reports will be available the following business day.

Understanding the drop-off rate

You should not be alarmed to see customers drop-off during the checkout process. It is perfectly normal that many customers decide not to complete a purchase. We all do it.

A normal drop-off rate (or shopping cart abandonment rate) is hard to define as it varies dramatically from industry to industry (e.g. high ticket items vs. low cost products). On average, researchers have found that shoppers drop-off around 50% of the times. But – again – the average is not that interesting as in your industry the typical drop-off rate could be much higher or much lower.

Here are the things to look for in your reports:

  • A high drop-off rate on the shipping step might indicate that shipping charges are too high (or not what the customer wanted to see: e.g. Next Day Air is not available and they wanted to ship Next Day). You can tweak your shipping options to see if you can reduce the drop-off there.
  • A high drop-off rate on the order verification page might indicate that customers did not see a payment option that they felt comfortable with. For example, some customers might be looking for a payment option other than credit cards (e.g. PayPal or eCheck).
  • A high drop-off rate on the payment page might indicate that customers did not feel comfortable completing the transaction. For example: make sure that your are using an SSL certificate so that the customer knows he/she is on a secure page when entering payment information. Consider adding the badge that your SSL certificate provider makes available to you to make it even more clear that the page is a secure page.

Other resources

Here are some interesting reads and statistics about shopping cart abandonment:

If you perform a search on a search engine such Google for “shopping cart abandonment” or similar keyword phrases, you will find a lot of other interesting information.


ProductCart & Google Analytics table of contents


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